Saturday, July 15, 2017

Book Review: What I Wish I Had Known (And Other Lessons You Learned in Your 20s) by Marcella Purnama

Author: Marcella Purnama
Illustrator: Nabila Adani
Publisher: POP (Imprint KPG)
Pages: 208
Format: Paperback
Published: June, 2017
Price: Rp75.000 (Gramedia)
Rating: 3 / 5 stars

Date started: July 14, 2017 - Date finished: July 15, 2017

I’ve lived my whole life following people and taking their choices as mine. I will dream a new dream, a dream that’s totally my own, and I will work hard to get it.

Ever since her acceptance letter to study abroad arrived at her inbox, nothing in Marcella Purnama’s life has gone according to plan. Instead of choosing Science, like her two older sisters did before her, she steered path to study Arts—a degree so alien to both her families and friends. But as she traveled thousands miles away, struggled with English, had her first byline and went back home to apply for her first job, Marcella realized that plans are meant to be changed. Full of relatable tales of horrific group work, falling in love, first job interview and quarter-life crisis, this illuminating account follows how a young adult grapples with life’s small and big questions, and the lessons learned along the way.
– D I S C L A I M E R –
I was given a copy from the publisher in exchange for an honest review, all opinions stated here are my own.
In Marcella Purnama's debut book, What I Wish I Had Known (And Other Lessons You Learned in Your 20s), she talked about her experiences studying abroad, finding herself and breaking free out of people's expectations. The first parts of the book revolved around choosing where to study and what to study, her life living and studying in another country. Then the book moved on to when she had earned her degree and is entering the workforce as a "fresh graduate." These parts range from her work life, dealing with different kinds of bosses, how her expectations of a job is not always the same as the reality. Besides those things she also wrote about life lessons from her parents and all the things she experienced in her early 20s.
One of the first lessons I learned in working life was that you don't need to like every one of your colleagues, and they don't need to like you either. You just have to respect them, and getting their respect in return.
The book is written in English, and of course her English is superb. Having been an international school student and earning a degree studying abroad. There are a lot of great aspects about this book that I want to discuss. First, I like her writing style. I liked how her writing was casual but she's able to get her point across without being preachy. I know that in non-fiction books one of the things that can bore a reader is a "preachy" writing style (well, to me at least) because you don't want to feel like you're reading a textbook. In addition to that, I also like how the "message" in each chapter of her book is not explicitly stated, it's up to the readers to make their own interpretation.
I have never needed a lot of friends. I am an introvert. I don't put the effort in going out in groups or socializing every weekend. But I consider myself lucky to have people who would hold my back no matter what. Close friends like them are hard to find.
Second, this book is relatable but it will relate to people in different ways. For an example, I related to certain things Marcella experienced. I too have an older sister who's smart, she also graduated abroad but I didn't, I'm also an ex-Communications students myself and I related so much on her experience studying Communications, especially on how subjective assignments are graded in this major since it isn't an exact discipline. She wrote my thought on it perfectly, which goes like this:
They say grades are easier to get in Business and Science, as everything was more black and white. In Arts, in Communications, your grades depend on your tutor – whether you have a good working relationship with them and whether your essay argument suits their taste. Assignments are marked subjectively no matter how hard the tutors try to be objective. It is understandable, as almost all assignments were essays and creative work, and it is hard to be black and white on creative pieces.
Other than that, I also know a thing or two about being compared to your sibling. What's different between Marcella and I would be how she wanted to study arts over medicine while I wanted to study medicine but ended up studying arts. Don't get me wrong, looking back I don't regret studying arts. I grew to love Communications and studying it helped me grow my confidence a lot.

Third, this book would definitely be more suitable for teenagers, especially those who are in their final year of high school about to go to university or even university students who are about to embark on their next step after graduating. I personally think that this wasn't the perfect book for me because I've faced most of the things Marcella went through in this book, even though not in the exact same way as she. But I did liked that I can relate to her experiences. I'll just end this review by saying that if you're a teenager and young adults in their early 20s, give this book a try!

That's all for now!

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